Second Sunday after Christmas
What the Gift Means
The Gospels of Matthew and Luke give us accounts of the events surrounding the birth of Jesus. John’s Gospel tells us what Jesus’ birth means for us today. Jesus’ arrival on planet Earth was no accident. The motivation of God for sending him to the world was love, as John 3:16–17 will later tell us; and the purpose was to invite all of humanity into a relationship with God for eternity.
These past few weeks have been busy ones for many of us. Our church calendars are full of events that send musicians, sacristans, dieners, ushers, sextons, Sunday school classes, and pastors into a frenzy that is unmatched at least until Holy Week. Our personal calendars also become overloaded with parties, concerts, and events with family, work, school, and the larger community. Look around you at worship today. Chances are the pews look emptier than they did on Christmas Eve. People have been “churched out” by the busyness of it all.
This can also be a lonely and painful time of year for those of us missing a loved one, a place, or the meaning of it all, while watching others rush around, seemingly enjoying the festivities.
Take heart. Today the Gospel gives us the real reason that Jesus arrived into our world . . . to bring us grace and truth. Grace means that we have a chance for beginning again. Truth means that Jesus’ life tells us exactly what God’s love is all about.
So to those of you who are just plain tired, may you know and feel the grace and truth of God today. To those of you who are hurting, may you know that Jesus came not for busyness, decorations, and parties, but to walk with you today.
For all of us, this is God’s grace, and this is God’s truth.
Chris Giesler, pastor, Edgeboro Moravian Church, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania